Archive for August, 2013

Check out this article from Church Executive Online. Do you write checks to your church? If not, how do you give? Does your church offer online giving or provide a giving kiosk?

Categories : Giving, Stewardship
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Aug
06

Stuff About Stuff:: 1

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Keeping in Stride

In order to do what I do each Sunday morning, I have developed a routine that I maintain. When the alarm goes off I get up and put the dog out. I make a pot of coffee and feed the dog. While I will enjoy a cup of coffee I will not eat anything before worship. I then sit down at the kitchen table to review my sermon. Since I don’t use any notes, I want to make sure I have it fresh in my mind. After two cups of coffee I will tell my wife what time it is. I will shower. If I haven’t iron a dress shirt on Saturday, I’ll iron my shirt. I walk into my closet and pull the last suit off of the rack. I dress and tell my wife what time it is. After I dress, I take a 12 ounce glass from the kitchen cupboard and make a glass of ice water. I take a bottle of lemon juice from the refrigerator and squeeze four squirts into the water and drink it. This cuts all of the phlegm out of my throat. I then refill the glass with water and drink that. I put the dog out again.

Once in the car I drive to our campus without speaking. There is no radio. If Lisa and I talk at all, its either about the weather or any lunch plans we have. When I get to my office I take off my jacket and place a fresh battery in my microphone transmitter and put it on. I take the Sunday bulletin and review the announcements I need to make at the beginning of the service. I then take my wallet, my phone, and my car key out of my pockets and place them in my desk. I put on my jacket and go to the Narthex to greet people until the service begins. The part that may seem strange is the whole business about putting my personal effects into my desk. I picked up that practice from a mentor of mine who did that. He said he did those things to tangibly remind him of the sharp distinction between the spiritual and material world. He wanted to be conscious of the fact that what he did in preaching was to be divorced from the pay he received for preaching. I was impressed by that practice and have made it my own.

John has already shared with his audience that our faith is evidenced through our love for God and our love for others. He now turns to add another proof of authentic faith: proper perspective on the material world.

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever (1 John 2:15-17, NLT).

What is the “world?” As a kid I can recall some faith traditions that preached against “worldliness” and the perils of adapting to our culture. What does John mean? The word world (kosmos, as in cosmopolitan) as I understand is life on earth apart from God. It is everything that has not been touched by God’s redeeming grace. John’s imperative is that should not love the world in general or the things of the world in particular.

You may be saying, “Wait a minute! What about John 3:16? Didn’t God love the world to the extent that he gave his only begotten son?” Yes. Jesus came to redeem people and his creation. Like God, we are to love people and care about our creation. The prohibition speaks against finding our identity and fulfillment in the temporal, material realm.

When we love the world we reveal our lack of love for God. Authentic love can have no essential rivals. Jesus spoke in the Sermon on the Mount. We may think we can have the best of both worlds, but Jesus is clear. We will always identify with our allegiance. We cannot serve two masters, and we cannot love God and Mammon.

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